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Israeli minister aptly compares Ariel settlement with Falklands

Last Tuesday, it became official: the IDF (following approval from Defense Minister Barak) recognized the academic center in the settlement of Ariel as a full-fledged university. International condemnation soon followed. A UK minister, for instance, expressed disappointment regarding Israel’s decision, and labeled it an obstacle to peace.

In response, Israeli Education Minister Gideon Saar (Likud) argued that “[o]ur connection to Ariel is at least as strong as the UK’s connection to the Falkland Islands.” This comparison is quite apt because Ariel, like the Falklands, is the product of a colonial enterprise, meant to place a metropolitan population amidst a weaker people.

Furthermore, Ariel and the Falklands are both islands. Whereas the Falklands are surrounded by an ocean of water, Ariel is surrounded by Palestinians. It is at the very heart of the West Bank with very little geographic contiguity with Jewish areas of residence inside the Green Line, or even with other settlements in the West Bank. That is why any map that attempts to include it as part of Israel within a two-state solution ends up looking like it was drawn by a cubist painter.

There are distinctions, of course. Most importantly, the other claimant for sovereignty over the Falklands – Argentina – is a sovereign and independent nation. The Palestinians, who have been uprooted to make room for Ariel, are a stateless people living on lands inhabited by them for generations, kept in this position by the very Israeli power that founded and recognized the “university” in Ariel.

Perhaps the most revealing part of this comparison is that Saar, like many of my compatriots, probably sees very little difference between the actual human beings that surround Ariel and want it gone, and the indifferent seawater that surround the Falklands on every side. That might be a greater obstacle to peace than the settlement itself.


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    1. rufus

      Citing the Falkland Islands as an example probably wouldn’t go down terribly well with the British.
      Bear in mind that towards the end of the Argentine occupation of the Falkland Islands Israel sold a large amount of equipment to Argentina.

      In order for the comparison to be appropriate Britain would have to be shipping fighter aircraft, fuel and anti-aircraft missiles to the Palestinians, not a junior minister “expressing disappointment”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Speaking of which, last I checked the Arab Legion in 1948 was commanded by a strange chap by the name of John Bagot Glubb and the other officers had equally difficult names to pronounce in Arabic (with the absence of the short ‘o’ sound and all) – Desmond Goldie, Teel Ashton, etc. . Would you happen to know their nationality?

        Reply to Comment
        • Philos

          A totally irrelevant point. Or would you like people to bring up the “original” names of Israelis? For example, Benjamin Mileikowsky rather than Netenyahu which was “inscribed on the seal of an ancient Hebrew proving our people’s ancient connection to the land” blah blah blah, nuclear duck, Merry Christmas and Muslims eat Christian babies for Eid, blah blah blah

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            We seem to be bringing up old grudges, so it is entirely relevant.

            Reply to Comment
    2. XYZ

      I think the point that he was making was the Brtain was willing to go to war for the Falklands, kill hundreds of Argentinians and endanger the lives of their own soldiers, including the son of the Queen who flew helicopters in the war. All this for a place that is thousands of miles from Britain and of no strategic value to them….then ALL THE MORE SO, Ariel, being part of Israel and in the center of the country, it should be clear to the British that we have the right to set up a university there.

      Reply to Comment
      • M-JOHN


        Reply to Comment
        • aristeides

          Putting lies in all caps doesn’t make them true.

          Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        The Falklands, part of the British state, were attacked (in violation of the UN Charter and Geneva Conventions, ie, aggression) by a sovereign state. The British state being one of the stronger members of the international order could afford to retake the islands militarily but nonetheless did so with the permission of the USA. The islands are of significant strategic importance given their vast fisheries and the ability of states to claim 200 kilometer “zones of economic exclusion” from their shores, which would leave Argentina at somewhat of a disadvantage. That’s the Realpolitik of it. Any comparison between the Falklands and the West Bank settlements makes no sense. The populations of the Falklands are all ethnically British having settled in what were once uninhabited islands a spitting distance from the Antarctic circle. The majority of the people living in the Falklands are not disenfranchised Argentinians that must live separately from the “settler” British population. Like Moar points out, Ariel is surrounded in sea of humanity rather than the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean.

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        • Carl

          Yeah the comparison doesn’t work either way. There’s a possibility that the British expelled around six Spanish/Argentinian traders when they initially landed, but they may have already voluntarily left the desolate shore; the islands were uninhabited by anyone for the vast majority of their existence for a very good reason.

          Geographically the UK has a tenuous claim – and I say that as a UK citizen – but whatever you think of that conflict or IS/PL, no comparison either way can hold.

          Reply to Comment
        • XYZ

          The British have for decades been telling us Israelis to be “generous” with the Palestinians. Well, here is a perfect chance for them to set an example for us….they should be “generous” with the Argentinians and hand the Falklands back to them.

          Reply to Comment
      • Margret Thatcher, XYZ, was doing rather poorly in the polls, with an upcoming election, when she ordered military action in the Falklands. Opinion swung back her way, her party winning another term. Some in the UK view the sinking of the Argentine battleship as an atrocity.

        Reply to Comment
    3. “Shall we choose Palestine or Argentine?”, wrote Theodor Herzl in The Jewish State. So the comparison is apt indeed. Happily they made the right choice and created “an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism”. God forbid they had opted for the Falklands.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Alex

      “Amidst a weaker people”?? The islands were uninhabited. Unless you meant penguins not people.

      Reply to Comment
      • Carl

        A land with penguins, for a people without penguins… .. .

        Reply to Comment
    5. The settler expansionist ideology has completely hyjacked the concept of Israel and Zionism. If Israel returned to the green line, the free ingress of Jews therein would still constitute Zionism. The right corporate nationalists commenting at this site want the connection between Zionism and settlements, because it leaves all opposed to settlements labeled “anti-Israeli,” the better to gag them.

      But all this discourse is moot now, for the One State outcome with bantu PA administration is the as applied policy of the State and apparently a plurality if not majority position of the Israeli electorate. So we have to await the consequences of this blunt social structure–which will be most unpleasant.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        If Israel returned to the green line it would be at the mercy of its Arab neighbors who have as of yet not given up on the idea of eliminating Israel for both ideological and strategic reasons. Rockets would be flying from Ramallah and Arab states would start getting ideas of trying a 1967 all over again. I don’t know whether such a scenario would constitute Zionism but it would certainly be stupidity of the highest order.

        The policy of the state is to pursue a demilitarized Palestinian state at peace with a Jewish state of Israel within secure borders. That is the consistent majority position in Israel.

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    6. Piotr Berman

      In all fairness, the settlers of Falklands competed with penguins which are not overly interested in the grazing grounds.

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      • PJM


        I don’t think the Falklands are worth a single British soldier getting so much as a nosebleed, but in fairness we didn’t dispossess massive numbers of Argentines (or anyone) establishing our presence there.

        It’s a poor comparison on both sides.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Mareli

      The analogy fails when one considers that the Falkland Islands are 250 miles away from Argentina and are inhabited by people of British descent who speak English, not Spanish. The people now living in the Falklands did not displace Spanish-speaking Argentinians. The Falklands are no more Argentinian than the British Isles are French or Dutch.

      Reply to Comment

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